When Skipping Stones, It is not about finding the right stone; it is finding that right lake that matters

Recently there was a video that was making the rounds, in which an excitable young man skips a rock on a frozen lake. A young couple hikes through some backwoods in Alaska and rests on a snow covered, desolate bank on the outskirts of the frozen water. After searching for the perfectly flat skippable rock, he attempts to skip said rock across the lake to impress his lady friend and what comes next completely blows his mind. As the rock skitters across the lake it creates a surprisingly shrill echoing ping-like sound that gets the young man incredibly excited. Immediately he searches high and low around the lakeshore for an additional skippable rock, in order to hear the sound once more. His female companion, and videographer, is also impressed with the sound, but more importantly giggling with pleasure at her subject’s reaction. The true joy of the shared video isn’t the phenomenon itself, rather the wonderment and joy expressed by the young man after discovering this feat.

In Marketing, sometimes the moist mundane, desolate hum-drum project can turn into something unexpected and wondrous. The true art of finding inspiration, (whether it is in art, work, life, or love), is with staying within your talents; but skewing them a bit. The young man up in Alaska was trying to impress his lady friend with his “skipping stone” skills, skills he knew he had previously and ones that had work for him in the past. What he did not expect is the outcome when one of the variables of one of his strengths had changed. Rather than seeing the stone skip across the water, they heard an interesting sound; the discovered the benefit together.

Too often we as marketers rely on expertly polished stones of templates, procedures, and methods that are tried and true; skipping our polished stones across the water to impress our big, deep-blue lakes of clients. Canned campaigns and static project completion dates become tedious and boring. Big Agencies mean big money, but it can also mean more restrictions and more of the same-old-same-old. Marketers are creative and creatives need to be just that, creative.

When a project comes along that poses a challenge, freezing the usual smooth sailing, the process can become beneficial to both parties. Letting a Marketer do the marketing, taking a risk and grabbing her same polished rock and throwing into this now frozen lake, and trusting her expertise can result in a revitalization of the campaign and business relationship. The best accounts are not always the largest, or make the most money. Ask any Marketing Expert/Guru and they will tell you that the most valuable client to a marketer is the one that makes her feel that she is a Big Fish in a Small Pond.

Even the experts do not know everything, and true experts should always be learning. It seems in business we all chase the “Big Fish, Small Pond” scenario, but maybe we should be searching for a frozen lake to call our own.

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